I have 2 boys ages 9 and 10, and when they heard about this place, they were so excited! Many caves and such we have been at in the past, have those little gem "mining" areas where you get a bag of rocks and its kind of lame. I never let them waste their money on it. Here, at Ruggles Mine, you can really mine for rocks and minerals! It is in the backwoods of Grafton, NH (and I have seen other people review this and say it is so far off route and hard to find. But there are many signs and it was not hard to find at all.)
Upon arriving, you pay an admission fee - it is on the more expensive side, but you can take home as many rocks and minerals that you mine as you want! We filled an entire shopping bag full. The hammers they rent are only $3 a piece, so that really isn't too bad, considering if you purchased a mining hammer like that, they would be upwards of $40 or more.
The experience itself was awesome! They have a little museum and display on the different minerals you can find specifically there in their caves. Then, after you have looked all of that over, you walk down the path and through a tunnel, and voila! You feel like you are on the set of an Indiana Jones movie, and have just walked into another world. There are cool caves, and rocks and you totally feel like you are out on a treasure hunt.
We spent about 2 hours doing actual mining, although I am sure you could spend all day if you were hard core. The great thing was that one of the employees was down helping everyone identify the different minerals they were looking for, and how to find them. This was a huge help. It was great to know exactly what to look for.
We were very pleased with our experience - it's not something you do every day!
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